If you’re looking for authentic sushi, but don’t want to make the trip to Seattle, good news! We have a few high-quality options for you right here in Kirkland.
You don’t have to be a lover of rolls to find satisfaction at some of the restaurants listed below. You’ll find rotating seasonal menus of fresh sashimi to satisfy raw fish lovers, along with a plethora of rice-wrapped goodies us Americans have come to love.
After having spent a fair amount of time in Japan eating fresh, high-quality, cuts of some of the finest fish, even I am satisfied after dining at some of the below. In fact, several of my Japanese friends currently living in the area have given one of Kirkland’s restaurants as their top pick for most authentic.
Let’s dig into the best sushi restaurants in Kirkland Washington! From authenticity to restaurants geared to the budget conscious, there’s a little something for every eater on this list!
A List of the Best Sushi Restaurants in Kirkland
Here are the best sushi restaurants in Kirkland. If you’re looking for the highest fish quality, you’ll want to start at the top of the list. If you’re more in the mood for rolls and sushi on a budget, the options near the bottom are probably more your speed.
- Tokyo Stop
- Kiwami Sushi Bar & Sake House
- Kirkland Sushi
- aa Sushi
- Kami Teriyaki & Sushi (NE 116th)
- Kami Teriyaki & Sushi (Jaunita Dr)
- Come to Izumi If: You want high-quality fish
Izumi may not look like much, but if you like high-quality fish, this is the place for you. While Izumi has some traditional rolls (California rolls, spicy tuna, etc.) you won’t find anything fancy here. This place is all about the fish!
Izumi feels like a typical restaurant in the suburbs of Japan. You’ll walk into greetings of “いらっしゃいませ！” (Irasshaimase: sounds like Ear-a-shy-ma-say), which is a standard Japanese greeting welcoming customers. Like a traditional Japanese sushi bar, their hours are limited, so make sure to check their website. Unlike a traditional Japanese bar, they have normal tables and chairs, no tatami mats, and sunken tables. So, you can keep your shoes on! It’s not a large restaurant, and they don’t have online reservations, so if you have a large party plan ahead.
Should you be dining with those who have an aversion to fish, Izumi does have an extensive option of Curries, Udon, Sukiyaki, and even Teriyaki for those who enjoy the simple things. If you’ve never had Sukiyaki before I highly recommend it! Especially on a cold day. However, on your first time here you must order some nigiri or sashimi to sample the quality. You won’t find any red food coloring in the Tuna here! And if you order enough sushi, they will serve it in a fun wooden boat.
2. Oto Sushi
- Come to Oto if: You want everything from traditional to teriyaki
Oto reminds me of a slightly more modern, yet still very casual, restaurant in the suburbs of Japan where I lived. I like to bring my niece here; however, she always complains the rice tastes “weird”. To which I always respond “that’s because this is actual sushi rice!”
Allow me to get on my soapbox (for just a moment!). Cheap sushi restaurants will put a clump of over-steamed rice on the back of your fish, and that is not true sushi. Real sushi is made with rice that has been seasoned. It should have a very subtle, slightly sweet, taste to it. Oto’s can be a tad sweet – it is mixed by hand after all – that not always going to perfectly mix the ingredients. Or maybe I’ve just eaten at too many American Sushi restaurants that were too cheap and lazy to make the rice with the right ingredients!
If you’re expecting flashy decorations, you’ll be disappointed. Traditional Japanese style is very minimalistic. Although this is a bit more modern, it’s not a trendy modern. The restaurant is quite small, so plan ahead for parties larger than 4. Oto allows for online orders, and on the weekends, they can get very busy. It’s not unusual to have a 60–90-minute wait for your order.
My standard for judging any place is the quality of the fish. So obviously the sashimi and nigiri here are going to be a great choice. They have their regular menu plus rotating seasonal selections on the board. If you like the raw stuff, I definitely recommend getting adventurous and trying something from the board. If you’re not into the traditional nigiri or sashimi, don’t worry, Oto has you covered! They’ve got an extensive menu of rolls, from the simple to the extravagant.
One of the reasons I like Oto is they have a lot of traditional meals served in Japanese homes on the menu. So I can get a taste of some nostalgia when I need it. If you’re in the mood for some fish, but also want some warm rice, try the Chirashi Sushi. Dining with kids? Order the Oyakodon. This is the “chicken and the egg” dish. It’s simply sliced chicken boiled in seasoned broth with an egg cooked over it, served on rice. It’s delicious and a favorite with kids across Japan.
Should you be dining with those who claim they don’t like Japanese food because they don’t like raw fish, don’t worry, Oto has you covered! They still have the Teriyaki most people will accept, but if you can get them to be a little more adventurous, the Curry Katsu will fill you up and make you feel warm and cozy inside.
3. Tokyo Stop
- Come to Tokyo Stop if: You want budget-conscious sushi
At first glance, you may assume Tokyo Stop is your typical Terriyaki joint, but you’d be mistaken. Yes, they have your quick-service Terriyaki menu. However, if you are looking for sushi on the go, or want to save a little money and are ok not having the highest quality available, this is the place for you.
Serving both your fancy rolls and nigiri, Tokyo stop is my go-to place for when I need a Sushi fix in a hurry, without breaking the bank. I typically order the Rainbow Roll to get a good mixture of the classic roll plus that raw fix I love. But if you want nigiri, don’t hesitate! Although this place isn’t a rival for one of Chef Shiro Kashiba’s higher-end restaurants, it will still satisfy.
4. Kiwami Sushi Bar & Sake House
- Come to Kiwami Sushi if: You want sushi with more modern decor
If you’re looking for a modern feel to your dining decor, Kiwami is where you should head. I used to eat here just about every week as I lived within walking distance. The fish was good, although the bill could get a little high. This is your typical trendy American sushi restaurant you’ll find in any major city. So while nothing particularly stands out about it, it’s also not a bad place to eat. If you’re dining alone, or there with your significant other, consider sitting at the chef’s bar to be entertained by the chef making their masterful creations.
At a traditional Japanese restaurant, you would pay a premium for the privilege of sitting at the bar with access to the chef to watch their skills and have access to their advice on the best catch of the day. Here in the States, you can have this advantage without the extra fees. If you’ve never ordered the Omakase (chef’s choice) consider giving it a try.
5. Kirkland Sushi
- Come to Kirkland Sushi if: You want thick cuts of fish on your nigiri
Located in Kingsgate, Kirkland Sushi provides a sushi option in an area without many convenient options. It’s not great, but not bad either. It definitely beats its competitor just over the Woodinville city limits when it comes to fish quality and has some affordable options.
However, if you’re going to be ordering a lot of nigiri or sashimi, expect to pay the same here as you would at some of the above for not as premium of a product. While tuna is generally one of the more popular options, you might want to steer clear if you don’t appreciate food coloring in your fish. The quality of the Tuna is fine, not top of the list, but fine. However, adding red food coloring to the Tuna is a common tactic among lower-quality sushi restaurants to trick their patrons, and while this place doesn’t need to stoop to that level, it appears they unfortunately have.
As I noted though, there are plenty of reasons to stop by Kirkland Sushi, especially if you live near Kingsgate. One thing they have that few other sushi restaurants do is give nice, thick, cuts of fish on their nigiri (others charge the same prices for little slivers). So you are getting a little more bang for your buck. If you’re looking to stretch your money, order the fried salmon collar ($2.50) and a bowl of rice ($2) for a way to add some good sustenance to your meal without breaking the bank.
6. aa Sushi
- Come to aa Sushi if: You want to feed a lot of mouths for cheap!
If you’re trying to feed a lot of mouths, you definitely want to go to aa Sushi. This is a Kaiten (pronounced like ka-ee-ten) style Sushi Restaurant. Literally meaning “turn the heaven”, Kaiten sushi restaurants have small portions of food on plates of various colors that move through the center of the restaurant on a conveyer belt. Dinners remove the plates as they come by their table if they want what to eat what is passing by.
At some establishments, the color of the plate determines the pricing, and at others, all plates are a fixed price. This can be a lot of fun for young children, or people who want to try something new without committing to a large quantity. While aa has a large variety of rolls available, the quality of fish is lower than other options on this list. Watch out for food coloring in the tuna to hide its low quality.
- Come to Umigawa if: You want high-quality nigiri and sashimi
New on the scene, Unigawa is seeking to establish itself as a high-end, trendy dining establishment. Even though they just opened they definitely are popular as when I dined there every table was booked with a reservation.
While they succeeded with the quality of their nigiri and sashimi, unfortunately on this occasion everything else was overcooked or lackluster. I hope to try the restaurant again and will update this review if the quality improves, but I do need to be honest about my experiences.
Expect to pay a premium to eat at Umigawa. Their non-sushi items are small portions, as most Japanese dishes are, with each plate costing about $20. If you just want to eat nigiri and sashimi, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for something besides your typical sushi dinner, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. Hopefully, they can improve with time.
8. Kami Teriyaki & Sushi (NE 116th)
- Come to Kami Teriyaki & Sushi if: You like fancy rolls with your teriyaki
If you’re searching for Sushi in Kirkland, this place probably didn’t even hit your radar. Right off the NE 116th Exit is a little teriyaki restaurant that also happens to serve Sushi… err…. or a version of sushi. More accurately, Kami Teriyaki & Sushi serves all the fancy rolls people love. If you’re looking to order some of your favorite kinds of nigiri, sorry, this isn’t the place for you. The closest thing you’ll find on the menu is the “sushi balls”. These are essentially nigiri, with half the rice, rolled into a ball. It’s actually kind of fun!
This place doesn’t do a lot of sushi, they are primarily a terriyaki restaurant, so don’t expect high quality or to be wow’d. Although it’s not listed online, in the restaurant they have a Korean menu. While this is a list of the best sushi in Kirkland, really this isn’t the place to go for good Sushi. Instead, I recommend if you’re in the mood for giving their Korean options a try and ordering the Bibimbop.
9. Kami Teriyaki & Sushi (Juanita Drive)
Yes, you read that right, there are two Kami Teriyakis in Kirkland. This location is newer and highlights their sushi more than the other location. The locations aren’t close to each other, and realistically you aren’t going to wind up at this location unless you live on Finn Hill or are driving to Saint Edwards Park.
But between the two locations, this is the better for grabbing a little quick sushi fix. If you don’t live in the area, you’ll pass Oto and aa on your way to this location. If you’re looking for quality sushi, I’d recommend stopping at Oto. If you live near here and just want a roll, the drive to Oto might not be worth it.